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Working Life

Blacksmithing

Operating the bellows in Sandyhills smithy

Description:

 

William MacLellan operating the bellows in Sandyhills smithy. Dr Werner Kissling, 1959.

 

This photograph shows blacksmith William MacLellan working the bellows at his forge in Sandyhills smithy. Dr Kissling noted that they were 'old-fashioned single blast bellows'. The lever of these bellows has a handle made of a cow's horn.

 

In the foreground of the photograph the anvil can be seen sitting on a block of elm wood. This block allowed the hammer to bounce off the anvil. This gave more power to the next swing and lessened the impact of the blow on the blacksmith and their tools. The elm block was usually sunk about a foot into the ground to keep it steady when the anvil was struck.

 

Dr Werner Kissling (1895-1988) was a German photographer and ethnographer who spent most of his life documenting Scottish crafts, architecture, and agricultural practices. He was associated with Dumfries Museum from the mid-1950s until his death in 1988.

 

With thanks to the School of Scottish Studies Archives for additional information.

Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
PP/KISSLING COLLECTION, blacksmithing/14
Digital Number:
DMPG353n
Creation Date:
1959
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council